“You guys have got to check this thing out,” Buck said as he approached the rest of the team seated comfortably at their customary table at the Saloon. Looking over his shoulder towards where JD was talking to Inez at the bar, Buck shook his head ruefully. “This thing looks ridiculous.”
“What is it?” asked Vin.
“Remember a few months ago when we were talking to that friend of his back home?”
“Ahh, the lovely Miss Jinx,” Ezra supplied, then took a sip of his beer.
“The very one,” Buck said with a grin, pointing at the Southerner. “Well, she sent him a present.”
“What kind of present?” asked Josiah.
“You’ll have to see it to believe it,” Buck said as he looked over his shoulder, seeing JD coming towards the table. “I’ll let JD tell you himself. Hey JD, I was just mentioning to the guys that you got yourself an interesting present,” Buck said with a knowing smile as he took his seat.
“Hey guys,” JD said as he took his seat.
JD was greeted with assorted nods and mumblings of ‘JD’, but the expectant looks on his associates’ faces were to die for.
“Spill JD… What’s got Buck smiling like that?” Vin gestured at the ladies’ man.
JD smiled. “I got a present.”
“No shit. What is it?” Chris voiced.
“It’s a cup.”
“Cup my ass,” Buck interjected. “It’s a fuckin’ trough!”
They all looked in askance at their youngest. JD chuckled. “Remember that list that my friend sent me in email about a few months ago?” At his friends’ nods, he continued, “Well, I was talking to Leah, by the way, that’s her name, Leah… anyway, and I had told her how much you guys had liked the list and liked talking to her. So she shipped me this… bowl… as a way to relive it with you guys, and to get me drunk, and to show you guys what we drink when we used to go out.”
“She sent you a bowl?” Nathan asked.
“It looks like a little volcano,” Buck added helpfully.
JD looked at his roommate before he continued. “She was out and about one day, and she saw this for sale, and thought ‘Wow, I have to send that to JD’ so she bought it. It’s a scorpion bowl. They serve them at Chinese restaurants back home. I just gave the list of ingredients to Inez. She looked at me like I had four heads after she read it.”
Nathan smiled and said, “Damn JD. Rain’s friends said those things can put you on your ass pretty hard.”
“That’s why we had to swing home after work. I wanted to drop off my bike and get the bowl, and Buck’s gonna drag my ass home later.”
Inez made her way over to where the boys were all sitting, carrying a precarious-looking… vat… of alcohol.
“JD,” she said as she came up behind his right shoulder to warn him of her presence. JD looked up at her and smiled, leaning out of the way so that she could put the bowl on the table. “Well, I made it like your recipe said… are you sure that it’s right?” she asked.
“I’m sure Inez,” JD said, smiling.
“What’s wrong with the recipe?” asked Ezra.
Inez reached in her pocket and pulled a piece of paper, handing it to the Southerner before walking away, a knowing smile on her face.
Silence reined at the table while everyone looked at the bowl. The silence was broken by a loud snort from Chris.
“That’s a punch bowl, right?” the blond asked disbelievingly.
“Nope,” said JD with a smile. “This,” he gestured dramatically, “is a Scorpion Bowl.”
It looked like a punch bowl. That was the best description for it. It was a large basin, on a pedestal. In the middle, a small volcano-like peak jutted up out of a sea of orangey liquid and ice. Along the side of the basin in intervals were hula dancers with brightly colored skirts and coconut bras, interspersed with palm trees. It was gaudy and it was HUGE. And it looked like it had been painted by a 5 year old. Actually, a 5 year old could have done better.
“Wow,” said Ezra, still looking at the recipe Inez had left.
“What?” asked Nathan.
Lowering the paper, Ezra pointed to it while he asked, “this is all in there?”
“What’s in it?” asked Vin with a curious smile on his face.
Ezra shook his head once before starting to read. “Three ounces of Grenadine, three ounces of pineapple juice, three ounces of orange juice…” he paused and cleared his throat before he continued. “Two ounces of Vodka, two ounces of Gin, two ounces of Rum, one ounce of Bacardi 151 proof Rum, one ounce Amaretto.” He put the paper down on the table. “All in one drink.”
“What’s it taste like?” asked Vin.
JD took a swig through the straw, eyes closed in pleasure. “Home.” He opened his eyes and looked at the rest of the guys. “Cold and sweet.”
“You are in for so much trouble Buck,” Josiah intoned with a laugh from across the table as he took a gulp of his own beer.
The men quietly sipped at their beers while they watched JD work on his monstrosity of a drink.
“I have to know,” Ezra began.
JD turned inquisitive eyes to the Southerner.
“How many of those do people drink at a time?”
JD smiled. “Well, some places that serve them will say up front that you are only getting one. But if you know the bartenders, you get… more than one,” he hedged.
“So wait,” Vin cut in, “how many is ‘more than one’?”
“How many of those things have you had to drink in one night?” asked Buck.
Several sets of eyes went back and forth from JD’s embarrassed face to the trough of liquor in front of him.
“…And some change.” He winced as he provided the last bit.
“What does ‘and some change’ mean, exactly?” Ezra drawled before taking a sip of his beer. He seemed the least shocked by JD’s revelation.
“It was in my younger drinkin’ days…” JD began.
“You ain’t that old JD,” Vin commented.
“Still. Leah and I had gone out one night and hit a couple of places. We each drank two, and split a third.”
“No wonder that girl ended up in the drunk tank,” commented Nathan good-naturedly.
“Yeah, well, she could hang with the big boys, so to speak.”
“You sure you weren’t dating this girl?” Buck asked.
“Positive,” JD answered smiling. “We just hung out a lot.” JD took another long sip through his straw. The kid had put away about half of the vat of liquor. His face was starting to take on a flush of inebriation.
Ezra finished his beer and put the empty glass down on the table. He watched as JD had another long sip. “So JD,” he began.
The kid looked up at the southerner, still sipping through the straw, biting the end slightly.
“Tell us a little about Boston. What kind of things did you do fuh fun, before coming out to Denvuh.” A couple of eyebrows raised at the seamless accent Ezra used, sounding like a true Bostonian.
JD, feeling the alcohol, didn’t notice and started to chat up his hometown. “Well, you could always catch a game somewheyah: hockey, baseball, basketball. Hell, even soccuh was getting’ populah when I left.”
Ezra smiled and held his hand out to Chris, out of JD’s line of sight. The blond begrudgingly slapped a twenty into his open palm.
JD continued on, oblivious. “Course, if you couldn’t get into the game for whatevuh reason, you could hit the area. There are so many bahs near Fenway and the Gahden, and there’s so many people that just come to the area for the night and hang out.”
Buck hid his smile in his beer. JD sure could talk funny. He wondered if he even knew he was doing it.
Ezra rose from his chair. “I’m gonna go get another beeuh. Anyone want anything?” He pointed around the table as he asked. “JD, you need another one of… those?”
JD looked down at his now pretty much empty bowl and swished the ice around with the remnants. “Um, you know I think I’ll switch to beeuh too. This shit can sit funny when you drink too much.”
Ezra nodded. “I’ll get a pitchuh then.” He started for the bar, snapping the twenty that Chris had given him in the apparently lost bet and making a childish triumphant face.
Nathan snorted and started coughing, his own drink having gone down the wrong tube. Josiah helpfully slapped him on the back.
Chris would have glared, but it was pretty funny listening to JD go on. When Ezra said that he could get JD to slip into the accent without outright asking him to, Chris had been doubtful. He should have known better. Now he was twenty bucks lighter.
It was silent for a moment, none of them sure how to keep JD going. Vin decided to be helpful. “So, how’s driving in Boston?” Chris shot him an incredulous look, to which the Texan just shrugged an apology.
JD didn’t notice. “It sucks. If you don’t know wheyuh yuh goin’, yuh screwed. GPS helps a lot though.”
“Why?” Nathan asked.
“Lotsa one ways, construction, the Big Dig was a pain in the balls.”
“Big dig?” Ezra asked as he returned with a new pitcher and another glass for JD. He poured him one, and refilled his own glass.
“Thanks,” JD said, taking the beer from Ezra and having a sip. “Yeah, they had these double deckuh highway things, which always clogged up with traffic. You couldn’t get anywheyuh. It was pretty much obsolete right aftuh they opened it. So they do this whole big project wheyuh they build a tunnel under the city to get rid of the double deckuhs, which were ugly as sin. Now heyuh’s the kickuh… they didn’t shut down the city at all. They did this over a bunch of yeauhs and now, they have this underground mahvel.”
“And is traffic bettuh?” asked Ezra.
“Don’t know. I moved out heyuh befoah it was done.”
“I saw something about the Big Dig on the History Channel,” Josiah commented. “It really is a marvel what they did.”
“It was a pain in the nuts though if you lived theyuh. A road that was open on your moahnin’ commute to work could be closed for the evenin’ commute, or magically changed to a one way. So, like I say, GPS helps.” He smiled, then suppressed a yawn.
“You get caught in it? The traffic?” Buck asked.
“No. I didn’t have a cah.”
Buck smiled triumphantly, holding his hand out to Nathan. Nathan palmed him a twenty, begrudgingly. Again, JD didn’t notice.
“I took the T pretty much everywheyuh.”
“The T?” asked Vin.
“Public Transit System. Buses, trains, subway. It went everywheyuh.” He took a long pull at his beer.
Chris looked at Buck. He shifted his eyes from Buck’s gaze to JD, then back to Buck. They had been here for a while, and JD would probably need an end to the night soon. He was looking pretty buzzed, and starting to fade.
Ezra caught the look and distributed the contents of the pitcher to everyone, finishing it off.
“So JD,” asked Nathan. “Any chance we’ll get to meet your friend Leah someday?”
“Who knows? She’s a little weeyid. She doesn’t like to travel too fah from home. She’s not a fan of flyin’. So I’ll go with maybe, but don’t get your hopes up.”
“Maybe we should go visit her?” asked Buck, waggling his eyebrows a little.
“You’re not her type,” JD said, rubbing his brow.
“Oh yeah? How do you know?”
“She told me.”
“So what is her type then?” he pushed.
“She thinks Vin and Ezra are cute.” He pointed as he spoke.
Vin’s cheeks blushed and Ezra choked on the last little bit of his drink that he was finishing.
“Said something about Vin’s ass being ‘magical’ or something like that. And something about getting Ezra ‘under her covers’.”
Buck and Josiah were laughing heartily, and Nathan was trying hard not to. Ezra and Vin were bother stammering, not being able to react through their embarrassment.
“Ok ladies, I think it’s time we wrapped this up,” Chris said, as seriously as possible.
“Yes, well,” Ezra said, now back to his own accent. “Gentlemen, it has been a pleasant evenin’.” He grabbed his jacket off the back of the chair.
Vin also rose, grabbing his own jacket. “Boys,” he said and nodded. He and Ezra started walking towards the door, but sidetracked over to the bar to bid Inez a good night.
Chris, Buck, Nathan and Josiah all rose. JD rested his head on his fist. Man, was he beat all of a sudden.
Chris pulled out his wallet.
“Chris, it’s my turn for the bill,” Nathan said.
The blond just smiled as he stuffed a twenty into JD’s shirt pocket.
Josiah and Buck started laughing again.
“Best twenty bucks I ever spent,” Chris said. At Nathan’s questioning look, Chris elaborated. “I told ‘Magic Ass’ there,” he pointed at the bar where Vin and Ezra were still talking with Inez, “that he’d get his, and I would pay to see it.”
“He’s not gonna live that down anytime soon, is he?” asked Buck.
Nathan started laughing, imagining the next few weeks and months’ worth of ribbing they’d all be enjoying at Vin’s expense.
“No way in Hell,” Chris answered with a shake of his head.
Nathan was still laughing as he went to the bar to square up the bill with Inez.
“Buck, do you need help with our young friend here?” Josiah asked.
“Yeah I think so. This poor boy is tits up.” He chuckled.
JD mumbled something that sounded like ‘Shut up Buck’.
Josiah and Buck each took an arm and dragged JD out of the chair to his feet. He tried to stand on his own, but was failing miserably. They started walking him towards the door.
“Chris, wanna grab his punch bowl?” Buck called over his shoulder. As he maneuvered the drooping form with Josiah, he remarked “I ain’t never seen someone go from zero to blackout so fast. ‘Back in my drinking days,’ my ass.”
Chris turned back to the now empty table and took a hold of the bowl. He grabbed the empty beer pitcher and went to pour the slush out of the bowl, then decided to give it a little try. Taking a sip from the trough, he swallowed it and considered it for a minute. Then he made a face in response to how strong the ass end of the drink still was.
Vin came up behind him, slapping him lightly on the shoulder. “You ready?”
“How was it?” Vin gestured towards the bowl as Chris dumped the slush out.
Chris just shook his head. “Kid’s gonna be hurtin’ tomorrow.”
Vin smiled. “I figured.”
“Gentlemen,” Ezra said as he came up to the pair.
“Where did you learn to do that accent?” Chris asked.
Ezra stared blankly. “I’m full of surprises.”
Chris finished wiping out the bowl with a napkin, then nodded at the door. As they exited the bar, they could hear JD singing at the top of his lungs.
“What has gotten into that poor boy?” asked Ezra.
“What?” asked Chris.
Vin pointed to where Buck had just slung JD over his shoulder like a sack of grain. “That’s what he’s singin’. Something about someone named ‘Tessie’.”
JD continued to sing as Buck poured him into his truck with Josiah’s help.
Yeah, Buck was in for a hell of a lot of trouble with that one.